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how to make a map beautiful06 of December 2005 06:46 PM
Posted by:flothefreak

How To Make A Map Beatuiful



Essay About Map Decoration



by flothefreak




As there are many maps that just don’t look good, neither on picture nor ingame, experienced mappers are sick of saying and trying to explain the same thing again and again. Now, I want to ease their lives a bit :)
Thus, I will try to give you an understanding of the art of decorating a map.
Still, don’t expect a dry, clinical article- I will be serious and issue-related, I’ll explain everything important and give examples, too. But it’s more a free unformal essay about map decorations than made in an article-style.
It is my intention to go into detail, so bring along some time if you want to read this- I will not write a synopsis, because this would break the text, and would cut off little but sometimes important aspects.


BASICS



“Manmade” and “Natural”


At first, we have to talk about the general look of a map. You have to know when to insert which style of decoration. As Listoric often points out, there is a difference between the tilesets: “jungle” and “ice world” are very natural tilesets, while “space platform” is obviously man-made. And this is what you have to keep in mind. Though, I don’t agree with Listoric’s point of view which states whole tilesets being natural/manmade . It depends on which _parts_ of the tileset you use- I’ll explain later what I mean with this.
Before doing this, I’ll give a description of what is natural and what isn’t.
What is “not natural”/”manmade”/”technique”-style?
Well, this is actually obvious: Straight lines, absolute symmetry of the map, symmetry in decorating texture. A great example of this is Starparty’s map “Space Pirates”. The whole map is mirrored from the left to the right- everything, even the filling walls in space, on ground, and on lowground! This already makes a very man-made look and let it appear artifical- which “space”-tileset actually is. Beside this absolute symmetry- that isn’t needed or makeable at all costs, he also implented symmetry in decorating texture. As example, take the solar-array-formation in the very center. It’s not just symmetrical, it’s looking as made on purpose symmetrical- which is exactly the wanted impression. And this also helps giving a man-made/technique-look to a map. There are lots of other maps which use this perfectly, like Forte, Space Dementia (symmetry to point here), Innocence Faded, and many other maps. As I just cannot mention all of them, I took space pirates as example, feel free to go through the DB looking for other well-made maps - there are many of them . The third mainaspect mentioned above are the straight lines in a map, which mostly refers to cliffs, riversides, holes. As you cannot see this aspect too much on the map Space Pirates, I’ll show this on the map “Jupiters Landzone”, which is also saved in the DB. You can easily see how tronicc used straight, technical lines when making this map- still, it doesn’t look bad at all- because this fits in the map and it’s look/purpose. Other tilesets wouldn’t give this in a good acceptable way.
Enough of the technical thing, what is natural then? Well, that’s easy for now. Natural is all which doesn’t look artifical. Thus, rounded shapes, random structures/textures, a fluent and unobtrusive flow. RhapsodyOfEternity is a good example for this. Maybe you say, the center is symmetrical? Of course it is, you cannot have balancing without a certain amount of symmetry. But the trick about it is to make it that way the players don’t remark consciously!
Spitfire used random, round shapes in this map (look at the mainbases), he employed random textures as well (again, look in the mains, what do you see?) Right, a random, naturally looking mixture of highground and jungle. And you surely remarked that there is a certain flow- that one round shape leads to another. And this is exaclty what I am talking about =)
Again, this is only one example, there are hundreds of good looking natural maps in this database, go, check it out! ;)


When Do I Use Which Style?


Now it’s time for the explanation I owe you: How can parts of a tileset be manmade, while the rest is not?
Should be clear, shouldn’t it? Best example is “badlands”-tileset: you can make beautiful naturally-looking maps with dirt, grass, high dirt, mud, high grass etc. OR, you could use the asphalt and the strutcure parts- and have a map that is a bit city-like.
I’ll stick to Jungle-theme for this example:
When making a jungle map, you maybe want to have a real “jungle-topic” (jungle, normal highground, mud etc), then you go for a natural look. But as soon as you go for ruins, or the better example: temple walls, you have to decide which effect you want to have. There can be natural looking temple-walls, that look like the remains of a temple, or there can be a mixture of ruins/temple/jungle- which is looking natural, and looking good. BUT, ya, it’s a “but”: you have the alternative of using those aspects manmade. You can’t get a grip on what I’m saying, this is just theory for you, and it’s not clear?
I’ll give you some examples right now!
You learned that straight is manmade, and jungle is natural- wait, how can you do a manmade jungle-part then? Well, this depends on what you want, of course. Have you forgotten that ruins can also be placed symmetrical, and so can “temple”? There you have it, like on badlands: you can choose the look you want. Maybe the center of your map is a ancient sacrificial sanctuary? Then it IS manmade, dear ;). Example? Look at “Temple Of Eden”!
The center is – as the name points out – an old temple, and thus a building made by humans/protoss/whatever. That’s why it looks still good when using ruins/temple straightly and symmetrically: Their use is also adequate for this. But, pay attention, this is not true for all- highground-cliffs almost never look good in straight lines, they’re just clearly not made for it.

Basics For Advancer?


But keep in mind that this is only in general- lots of maps have also proven that this is not an absolute rule. But these special usages need experience, and should thus only be used by mappers having this experience- someone who has made enough maps to know how every decoration style works- and how he can (maybe) avoid bad looks while working with the “not standard” deco-style.


Excursus: Mainbases


This does not really fit to the topic “decoration”, but this article is called “make a map beautiful”, and thus I will go into mainbases shortly. When making them, you should employ all the proposals that I already made and will make later on, but there is another thing that is not optical, but has to do with beauty. You wonder which? I talk about mainbase-layout.
This goes more for the feeling while playing than for visuals: You should make the mainbases in a way that players “like” them. So, in short words: Avoid too small but long bases (neither horizontally nor vertically), because this is annoying for placing buildings (training buildings!) and unit movement in the base, and it will thus only cause a negative annoying feeling. In addition, when having to make a ramp-layout like on 9o’clock LT – which is often necessary – try to make the space above the ramp enough. This means, that after having build a standard wall-in, there should still be place for a turret, a bunker or whatever above the supply depots, because when there is only one tile/square of space, you can’t really move units there (which you can on normal ramp layouts in other bases for sure!), nor can you build – as mentioned – buildings strategically.
Also, don’t make mains too small, the more building space you got in your main, the more comfortable you feel about it.
Another thing is not to place many unbuildable doodads in main, it’s dumb when a player has to seek a place for every single building to place. If you do unbuildable doodads in mains, push them to the edges.

THE TERRAIN



General Issues: The Right Tileset


Well, there are some things that are often underestimated, and one of them ist the choice of the right tileset. This actually has a large influence of the final decoration of a map, too. Let’s imagine you have a concept/drawing for a map. Now, you choose a tileset and start mapping. Oke, your done and go for decoration then...but unfortunately you remark that your chosen tileset has only limited possiblities and means for decorating, and you’re cut off in your creativity now. This means you’ll have a map that is not as beautiful as it could be, or you’ve got to remake the map completely in another tileset, which is a hell lot of work, especially when you went for an absolute symmetrical map.
Thus, you should have some thoughts about your map before starting the execution. Think of what you need: Are there large fields of unbuildable terrain? Do you use a lot of highground? Does it have much “water”? Do you need unbuildable terrain on highground? Do you have large areas of buildlable ground, like for an open but buildable center? Those questions are more important than you’d guess. You need large areas of unbuildable terrain? Of course you can use twilight-tileset with its crevices, no problem. But then you have a large boring area which is all the same and has only a few doodads to put on, and you maps looks like Luna :[. You can neither improve this much by letting little dirt-holes: It’s all blue, and you cannot use ‘crushed rock’ or ‘flagstones’. I’ll take my map “Three_Spirits” as example (firstly, it’s mine and secondly, it’s because of that the first map that comes to my mind when searching an example ;))
I knew because of the concept that I had to use a lot of unbuildable ground-thus I thought about which tileset to use. And instead of using “twilight” with ‘crevices’ only, or “desert” with ‘crags’ only (which would have been very boring and ugly ingame because of the largeness of that area, I took without hesitating “ashworld”- you haven’t misread: Me, going for an essay about decoration, took “ashworld” on purpose due to make the map look GOOD. And what shall I say? It gave all I needed most more than perfectly (3 kinds of unbuildable ground, all able to be next to the other without changes like on “jungle” with [ruins-jungle-dirt-rocks]!) and as the rest of the map was possible to be executed with ashworld (no lowground needed or stuff), I made this map in “ashworld”. So I had easily covered the problem of making this area walkable but unbuildable, while still looking not plain and ugly but just versatile (which even gave a theme for the mapname!). Still, if you want to have a very open but buildable center and you have much buildable space on lowground, too (like 4 large mainbases on lowground), you’re better off with other tilesets of course. With “jungle” for example, you got dirt, mud, jungle, and maybe little parts of rock at your disposal. Having large water-areas can also influence the map’s look. While “jungle”- or “badlands”-maps with a lot of water are quite bright, you can give your map a more dark touch by “ice world” (dark water) or even “desert” (tar). The difference in look can be seen with those 2 examples: (3)Open Sea has a _very_ large area of water, and you probably know from LT how bright the jungle-water is ingame. Imagine this with black ‘tar’ instead! It would give an all different feeling while gaming, a huge difference. Just compare this to (2)Tar River, a map from Panschk where much tar is used (as the mapname points out), you have a more dark feeling then, especially because of his seldom use of ‘sand dunes’ (bright yellow) but his masses of ‘dirt’ and ‘dried mud’. Those are two examples of a color-theme used on purpose for creating a certain emotion – and I dare to suppose that was all on purpose ;).
There we have another important aspect to the look of a map: brightness of used elements. They cause different “moods” on a map.
Back to the topic: For a map that uses almost only highground, you can take “jungle” for example, it also has unbuildable ‘ruins’ for highground. But I will mention a very strange but interesting fact: On “desert”, you have those ‘crags’ for normal and highground, which is unbuildable on both- UNLESS you make just small lines! I am talking about “the half” of a patch placed by on click with isometrical cursor. Just try it out, you can build on those small lines without problems! This makes you able to decorate with it, and have little unbuidlable areas on a surface without having misplaced-looking single junks of crags. So, keep this in mind ;).


To The Point: What’s Important?


After the foreplay, we go to the act itself now.
The most important thing for decoration is that it’s not boring. So, what can you do about it to prevent this? Firstly, don’t take one terrain all the time. Make a mixture! Instead of having a large patch of jungle, create a good and beautiful mixture of jungle and dirt and mud, maybe even add little parts of rock or ruins! This gives a totally different picture ingame. In addition, for not looking plain, feel free to add little parts of clff-walls, raised jungle or temple (not too much, it would make the map very tight, so do this only on purpose to weaken Z and strengthen T). As example for this, I want to mention the map (4)Crusader by Travin. There you can find everything that I was talking about: There are no boring large areas made from one terrain, no, you can see jungle mixed with dirt, jungle mixed with mud, mud mixed with dirt, jungle mixed with ruins, ruins/jungle mixed with little temple-wall-parts, little parts of rock, too. There is almost everything that a mapper and a player can dream of, it’s so versatile, so detailed, so varied that no spot is like the one before, and while playing you are certainly _never_ bored by the terrain because there’s everytime something new around :).
Playing on it is interesting and fun at the same time, it’s just pleasing the eye all the time. And this is why I told you that a disversified decoration is the alpha and the omega!
Another map of Travin (again “Jungle” tileset because I took it as example for explaining up there) is “Rebirth of Fenix” which also serves as pretty pretty example (don’t consider balance on it, it was made for a contest about imbalancing. It’s just an example for look).
And I won’t get tired to say that I just picked two maps as examples, go through the DB and have a look at others, there is plenty of them.
But again remember what I wrote under “BASICS”. You can do it symmterically and naturally, just as you want the outcoming effect.


Decorating Not-Needed Areas


Well, now you decorated the center, the mainbases and all additional paths that are directly seen by the players. You did this all good of course, with variety and so on- but now, you still got left some areas where you don’t want anyone to be used? Not for walking, not for dropping. Well, you’d normally just put water there, eh? Ok, then I write something over water areas at first. As you remember, large areas made out of one terrain seldom look good. On ground you can just change the soil covering. But what do you with water then? You don’t have different types of water :/. Do you think now, you could neither put dirt there, because then you have a dropzone again? Well, that doesn’t have to be. A little but very effective trick is to put random or symmetrical small lines of dirt into the water, on which you cannot drop then, but you’ve a variety now, and it’s not just a plain water area for now when playing.
Look up the map (6)Herbal Essence in the database, there you have it: small lines of dirt cover the water, and thus make it more beautiful than just a plain blue area. You can also put some little isles into the water, either on places where dropped units don’t do harm (because it’s somewhere one can’t shoot anything), or if near a spot where you have to deny drop (because you don’t want it there), just fill this isle with doodads. I used this technique massively on my map “Doing_the_Dying”, just check it out. But be aware, when doing this, you have to make sure you really cannot drop there! If you don’t, it will happen like on old LT 9o’clock-position, where you could drop 2 tanks (but after that nothing else, no zealots or similar) on the little space below the base, where the tanks could hit the player’s gas then.
If it doesn’t work, don’t do it. This goes for the same when making a cliff-ring somewhere, like on “Doing_the_Dying” around those isles: don’t allow tanks to be put between the wall and the water when they can hit something then.
Oh, what a surprise, this leads exactly to the next point in this essay!
When you don’t want to have water as denying terrain, there is an alternartive. Instead of water you can use highground to get this effect- or better said: highground-walls. I won’t bore you now about how to do, so I’ll make it short, it isn’t a that big deal. Just place one square of highground and erase the half of it: you have the beginning of your filling walls now. I couldn’t explain it better than with just showing an example, so you will see for yourself how it’s made and how it works. Take a look on LGI’s map “Grapes Of Wrath”. There is much space in the center blocked by exact this technique. Here you have again to be _very_ aware that sometimes little spaces bewteen those walls appear, and you have to deny those for drops, because if not, you’ll get problems with terrans dropping tanks all the time into those little wholes which is very annoying.
But before you randomly choose between water and highground-wall-formations, I have to warn you: It’s not all the same! There is a large difference between those two things. Firstly, you can’t look without flying unit over those cliff-walls, while you can easily over water. So you maybe see incoming shuttles or airunits much later, which increases a surprising effect of them. In addition, and this can’t be made equal by observers, overlords or anything: Units have only 2/3 chance to be hit when fighting a unit on ground while themselves being on a cliff. Now, this also goes for all airunits, which means that in our case, airunits that are incoming not only have not-to-be-seen-effect, but also a very large advantage in fights, which makes muta-harass easier for example. So you have to decide everytime where to put which mean. An example of what this difference can cause is the map (4)Ground Control.
The author knew about this difference and made a map as if those two things were all the same- but the effect was that almost every comment pointed this out as striking imbalance :P.

Spaces Left To Fill


This is another aspect of terrain-decoration. You sometimes (more or less often) happen to have a open free center (but due to balancing reasons!), and you have to “put in” something there. Unexperienced mappers often tend to do the same mistake: they just a large square of highground or just a surface made out of one terrain that differs from the terrain around (like a ‘sand dunes’-spot in the center). Actually it is very wise to put something in the very center of a map. It’s very comfortable ingame, to know, where the center of a map is, and it’s just appealing to have something in the very middle you can fix on.
This goes for the temple-doodad in LT (or my map Origo_Hills) as well as for other things.
This mostly works as optical filler only, which is not bad, but it shouldn’t be only for optic look on the picture. A square maybe seems adequate on the image, but it’s ingame strange somehow, not matter what you do. Thus, don’t make the thing just a filler, but make it a game-influencing mean. It’s hard to describe what I mean. If you just put one small highground-piece into the middle, or a lake-square, the players will remark it only as misplaced thing by the mapper who didn’t know what to do. The rigth way is to implement something as fixpoint in the center, that is NOT remarked by the players consciously. It should be something that hits the eye, but that doesn’t make you think “aha, this is made as fixpoint”. A temple is very common for this, or just a little lake. But terrain as filler works only on the picture well, ingame it feels isolated and misplaced somehow, when not really connected to the rest of the map. If you want to have highground, don’t make just a single column, go for a structure, which means for a formation of highground-walls that doesn’t just serve as mid-point then, but is really a tactial device to hide from the enemy, or avoid combat, passing unseen with scoutprobes and so on. Me, for example, I made this often (because I defend this fixpoint as good for gameplay by heart) in many maps, just to mention: Outlaw_Anthem, Escape_Routes. I took several optical _and_ tactical fillers, as you can see. If you would just erase them, the map would change completely in game-style- and this is what I want to make clear: Removing an optical filler for the JPEG (sand-dune-spot e.g.) doesn’t change anything- but removing a tactical filler would immediately open up the map.
Still, you have to be aware because if you do too much, then it maybe damages balance by making the map tight. So think at first how much you want to decrease the center, and then choose how large and how many fillers you want to add. The map Roads To Antiga Prime for example makes the middle small on purpose, and is thus using quite large blocks of structure.
Fillers can help to make the game feeling better by giving fixpoints to the players so they know unconsciously where they are, but don’t overdo it. Esp. droppable+buildable highground-spots should be avoided at all costs.
But make these fillers also look naturally and good, avoid straight lines (when wanting a natural hill), the vertical zigzag-lines in particular, they don’t look good ingame.

DOODADS



General:


Good that you’ve read until this point, now you hopefully have learned something. Furthermore we come to another main topic of decoration, the one that maybe pops at first to your mind when hearing the phrase “decorate this map”: The good ol’ doodads.
The importance of them can’t be overrated. Still, there are of course exceptions, but the rule of thumb is: “There are never enough doodads on a map”. Though, I want to put emphasis on the fact that this is “never enough”, not “never too much”. As this rule points out, doodads are very important, and you should place as many as possible. But, and this is the main exception, they shall only decorate, and not damage the map.
I also won’t give examples on this topic, because doodads can easily be changed on every map, and so the examples wouldn’t really last.


How And Where To Place Them?


Of course, doodads often help for certain purposes, like blocking paths, filling possible drop-holes, avoid AI confusing at mineral lines, or just deny wall-ins like on “Luna”. But if you place too much (or too large ones) of them directly in the way on paths/areas, they just hinder units passing through those spots. So, before putting 300 large non-walkable doodads into a center, think twice. If you do, it will be like a maze for units, especially for those large ones like tanks, ultralisks, dragoons etc., not to mention that it splits your force very much and annoyingly. Furthermore, some doodads prevent sight behind them, and many doodads make your units walk nearly blindly around. So, place most of your doodads where they don’t make trouble and don’t disturb: At edges of paths and cliffs, behind minerals, into little holes, or similar. I don’t say doodads don’t belong in an open field- they beong there, for sure. But don’t place too many too tight together. If they’re not too big, and not too close, it’s perfectly ok. A bad example of doodad placement is the middle of LT: there is only very tight space between the center temple-doodad and those columns around it- units get stuck there often which is just annoying for a player.
But this only goes for non-walkable doodads. Talking of those that are fully walkable (and many of them are also buildable): Go ahead! You hardly can set too many of them. The more you add, the more detailed and thus beautiful your map gets. On “badlands” for example, there are many build- and walkable doodads...from skeleton parts to little grasses, including little bushes, and also some tube-plant-layers. Put those (and others like them) all around your maps, and it will look great. But pay attention not to place unbuildable but walkable doodads accidentally on entrances or expansions, so they prevent buildings. This would be a serious mistake. So, in short words: Don’t place too many large doodads to close at paths or in centers, put them to the edges and walls. Place walkable AND buildable doodads as much as you can, especially use them en mass for mainbases and expansions, so you don’t deny buildings accidentally. Use walkable but not buildable doodads also around the map, but only seldom in mainbases (like, for denying wall-in). Be more canny with them, and place them mostly in the center or just away from places where players could try to make buildings (around naturals, expos, etc). You will learn by doing how you can make this without fucking up your map =) .
I don’t think I have to give examples for this, there are many maps where you can see this.


Doodad Combinations


Maybe you noticed it while looking on some maps: Good mappers show certain doodads connected together when they look similar. This also helps when trying to make your map “a whole”. If you place the most different doodads close together all the time, it will be remarked because it doesn’t fit then. So, try to take single doodad-themes for little spots. Let’s imagine that you have a spot in your map, it’s between the edges of two cliffs, which means that this space will not be used and leaving it empty would be a disgrace, because those spots are best for doodads: all doodads are possible (you don’t need units or buildings there), you have enough space, like the area (math.) of a CC and a supply depot, and it’s at the side so they don’t interfer when units passing- but when they pass, one sees the doodads ;).
Instead of filling this space with random doodads, you can use a doodad-theme. I will points this out with the “ice world”-tileset. On this tileset, there are a lot of rock-doodads for ‘snow’-terrain. For filling this given spot now, you can choose between many similar doodads in all sizes. So, you can place around two _large_ rocks (2x4), and fill the spaces with medium (2x2, 2x3) and make it complete with small (1x2) rocks. And I don’t have to say that it should look normal and good. All place should be taken, but no holes left, and the doodads not made as in a row. Maybe I will make a screenshot of this combination and post it later. But for now, I suppose you can think of what I mean. Other possibilities of themes are: trees, devices/machines (twilight, space), tube plants (badlands), terran units and buildings (desert), and lots of others in every tileset. Though, to make myself clear: you don’t have to use seven doodads at once and do this only in large free unused areas, you can also do it when having not this much space (like, maybe only the size of a supply depot). Then, just choose 2 or 3 three doodads, and then you have a small good looking doodad combination, which is maybe even more present than the large groups aside the main traveling routes. Try to experiment and see what you can get out off all those doodads :).

But: keep in mind that there is one special thing about tree doodads (this is also with those road signs on space afaik): Units positioned behind those trees only have 2/3 chance of being hit, so this can harm gameplay a lot, for example when a terran can make his push even
stronger when placing siegetanks behind trees all the time- and make them live longer.

SPRITES



Sprites can only be placed in certain special editors, and as I don’t use them this much for now, I won’t go much into detail, nor will I say much about placement: I don’t have much experience in placing them, so you have to figure it out yourself.
Still, I want to provide some general information:
Sprites often have the look of units, buildings or doodads. But they don’t EXIST ingame, which means that they are visible ingame, but you could set 1000 barracks onto a path but all units will walk just through them, and you can place buildings as well and stuff. So they don’t do anything but being visible, and it would be ridiculos when units pass right through a massive rock- so if you use them, do it only on “impossible terrain”. Right ON edges/cliffs and so on.
Still, I have to warn you: only use them VERY canny. The game starcraft uses sprites for the engine and thus also for all missiles, explosions, death animations, spells etc. AND, starcraft is only able to display a fix limit (number) of sprites! So don’t overdo it, better don’t do it at all. Because if you do it is quite probably that units just stop to shoot ingame, especially when there are units already shooting which need lots of sprites, e.g. valkyries. And noone will play a map, nor would I risk it, when the game is literally fucked up from the midgame on.

So: sprites are NOT needed and can only cause trouble. So they are really NOT recommended.

CONCLUSION



Well, this is it for now. I hope I could help you when you had problems in making a map beautiful. Still, I have to mention that I am not the master of all myself, so don’t think this is all and complete, neither think there is no other way than this.
I tried to make the article worth reading, and I hope I didn’t use too incomprehensible style.

If anyone has suggestions, things to add, criticism or feelings of hatred, whatever, just post it and I may insert it.
Whoever finds typos is not allowed to keep them, he has to make me aware of it so I can grab them out of the text and keep them secretly in my house by replacing them by correct spelling/grammar.

Hope you liked it

flo the freak


Comments:

RSCup.SpitFire[7x]
Spent nearly a hour to read this. Great work, flo. May I translate it and put on my clanpage?
Starparty
Add pictures too, a newbie wont have any use of it otherwise :o

great initiative though, gonan read it in a sec
LGI
WOW! Hope i find time to read all this. Or someone translete it in Bulgarian, so i can read it fast ^^
flothefreak
feel free to translate it as long you give me the credit ^^

wanted to add pictures at first, but I don't know how it works. and even if I took the html-code for it, I still wouldn't know how to resize it so it doesn't blow up the page-borders.

txh :)
flothefreak
plus, my BW doesn't let me take screenshots anymore. until I re-install it, it would only be possible to take screens from the editor.

btw, I'm gonna remake the distances bewteen the paragraphs, it shouldn't look like this, and it didn't in word ^_^
flothefreak
hum, how can I edit the spaces between the paragraphs? it is not depending on how many new lines you make between them as it is in word...
flothefreak
and for the 4th comment in a row: if someone can give me the HTML code for posting normal (or resized ) pictures, and in addition the code for posting thumbnails that lead on click to the large image (via popup?), I would be able to insert pics as well.
decaf
You have too much free time. That being said, nice job.
flothefreak
well, I didn't write all this at once^^
ScoutWBF
Its so much that I don't even want to read it...sry
flothefreak
I won't force anyone.
Yet I don't consider anyone really being a serious mapmaker when he is not willing to put some time in learning it.
flothefreak
panschk: I will make pictures tommorrow and add them.
Actually this natural/manmade part was the hardest to explain- it just depends from the map very often.
just take toxicity, which is quite natural in the center. Has it become clear that I made a difference between symmetry (need for balancing) and absolute symmetry?
Listoric
Wow, i'm impressed. Wondered about what "article" you talked on icq ^^

I really like it. I got confused by some of the "small talk" parts in it, and had to reread some parts to get what you wanted to explain, but still, nice to read, thx a lot!

Pictures would be great though ^^
Starparty
and i didnt like the part about sprites. That is just plain bullshit imo. only in a 4v4 game where all players go 50 hatch limit lings it will matter
MuShu
Very nice guide, flo. I'll make sure to read it all on the weekend. ^_^
flothefreak
Starparty: that's just not true. I could refer to valkyrie-missiles now, where each missile takes several sprites, and when you have 6+ valks (with this high shooting range), so many missiles per valk are in the air, and this all for several valks: lots of units will stop shooting. and this also goes for 1on1. there would be more valks used in TvZ (like cors in Pvz!) without this bug.
flothefreak
thx lis :)

it would be great if you could point out where exactly you got confused. I didn't wan't a dry style, so I used some funny elements. If I overdid it somewhere, just tell me.
LGI
Damn i wish Blizzard finish Brood War... Then others can talk about Star Craft 2, or something...
flothefreak
shooting range = shooting rate
Starparty
SC can handle 1650 sprites at one time. If we say 1v1 zvz, where both players go 30 hatch and limit lings that is:

per player:
30 + 30*3 (larvas) = 120
limit lings = 400 sprites
lets say 30 ols just like that.
and 30 various buildings as an average

= ~ 500 sprites

this times 2 is 1000

on a 1v1 player map zvz you could place like 650 spritedoodads and be safe



(btw a valk is 3 supply = 1valk + 5 missiles = 6 sprites.

a 3 supply lings = 6 lings = 6 sprites)
flothefreak
read my comment again, dude.
then realise that it's not the units I was talking about.

It is an old bug that ya can't go for mass valks because of THE MISSILE SPRITES.
k?thx.
Starparty
Please can someone help flo understand, since i seem to be incapable at the minute. :(
flothefreak
Please can someone help SP understand, since he's not getting the point?
LGI
Actually i never make more then 8-10 valkys, because when many times when they are near 12, the BUG that flothefreak talk about really shows up. They stop shooting, but i didn't know that it was for the missle sprites. And btw i see also in a LIMIT of goliats also not shooting AIR(there wasn't ground units so i don't know if it's the same in ground).
flothefreak
well, but goliath rockets don't take as many sprites as valkyries do for their rockets.
I think it's somehow badly coded that this attack is made up of so many sprites.
Starparty
flo do you mean the missile SMOKE?? couldnt you just have said that :P still it wont get to 1650 in a good while :p
flothefreak
I don't know what exactly it is, the missiles, the smoke animation, both whatever.
but there is something on the whole valk-attack that consists of really _many_ sprites so you can get the "valks don't shoot" phenomen already in a 1on1 when building more than 6-10 valks, depends on other units
AiurZ
using a reasonable amount of sprite doodads will generally not interfere with gameplay. just dont overdo them.
flothefreak
ya, sure
but I wanted to prevent overzealous newbies to think "hey, the more sprites I add, the better the map will look! and it doesn't damage the map like doodads could do! GOGO MASS SPRITES"
^^
Listoric
"Doodads often have the look of units, buildings or doodads. "

? ^^
Starparty
heehhe
flothefreak
ya wanna deny that doodads often have the look of doodads? 8[
I have tests proving that! ;D

*fixed*, thx
Your Name
btw, are the headlines shown in the starcraft font at your pc?
if you have installed it but it's NOT displayed in bw-font, lemme know.
GlassDragon
Your message about missle sprites is valid. This phenomenon appears most promeniently in a UMS game that has multiple targets coming up in succesion. The infamous "new units unplacable" message starts to flash up- and then, "cannot create new units" happens. Shortly afterward, units on the baord stop fireing as fast- or cease altogether. The mass slows the interaction of the software to a crawl- thus "skipping" the melee of placed units. For anyone who wants to experience this, just try the "Hydra Elite 1.4" map- a fiarly popular UMS map. there are hardly any doodads on the map- but it still plays slow at 10-15 levels
spinesheath
Well, I can remember testing valk effectiveness vs carriers (thought you maybe could kill all the inters at once). It was like 18-24 Carriers with 8 inters against 24+ Valks and it DID work fine. Was useless though since inters withdraw too fast.
And I can't see any reasons in building more than ~6-8 valks, it's better to use them as supporter for a wraith/bc fleet.

I know a UMS map though, that really goes to the unit limit and like 800 units are attacking at the same time. You could have up to 6 valks, and yes, they stop shooting. You had to use maelstrom to reduce the number of attack sprites, then the valks were able to shoot again :P

But anyways, more than 20-30 sprites on a non UMS map is (normally) ridiculous and useless. Maps without them are just as fine.
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tktkvroom
I'm with what the last guy said :D
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